Chapter 11
A unique market for services


11.1In this chapter we consider the public interests and policy objectives relevant to the funeral services sector. In particular, we consider whether there is a case for additional consumer protection measures based on the nature of this purchase.

11.2The funeral sector in New Zealand has never been tightly regulated. There have been repeated calls for regulation by both the Funeral Directors Association of New Zealand (FDANZ) and the New Zealand Embalmers Association (NZEA), but these have not been accepted.462

11.3We consider that the following policy goals and public interests are of central relevance to this discussion:

11.4We begin this chapter by exploring these public interests. We then discuss the nature of the market for funeral services. In chapter 12, we draw on this discussion in presenting preliminary options for reform.

462FDANZ has informed us that it first sought compulsory registration of funeral directors in 1937, while operating as the New Zealand Federation of Funeral Directors. As mentioned above, the Health (Burial) Regulations 1946 contain a registration requirement, but this falls short of what was called for. Further calls for increased regulation have been made since this time, but other than an update of the regulations in the 1980s (which did not introduce significant changes), this lobbying has not met with success. See also C Schafer “Dead serious? Funeral directing in New Zealand” (2008) 4 Sites: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies 95 at 100–101.